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Help with Crud and Powder

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Well, we've bitten the bullet (so to speak) and are heading to Canada in January. Had a great time earlier this year but did not do very well off the groomed runs in the crud and powder. Infact, usually came to a grinding halt and felt like my legs were lead and impossible to control.I would really like to take advantage of the different terrain and get off the groomed runs.

I thought if I posted, I could tap the collective wisdom (There is alot of it out there). Any replies would give me something to store in the subconscious as we swelter in 30C, and contemplate -8 with anticipation. It can then emerge into the conscious on the bus going up the mountain.

I am a late forties 183cm male with 193 skiis. Amazingly, I am getting better with age, having come back to skiing after a considerable break (in time). I skied better than ever (technique and confidence)in New Zealand a couple of months ago thanks I think to my experience in Canada earlier this year.

So, now I want to build on this. Any diatribes, comments, suggestions on how best to handle the powder and crud would be appreciated.

post #2 of 25
2 skis = 1 platform. Nix on any stepping or pushoff from one leg. Do it all with both. Start down the fall line not across it and surf. You don't need to finish turns so much in the pow.
post #3 of 25
YOu should describe as precisely as possible the problems that you were having, the equipment that you were on, and the type of snow that was causing you difficulty. For example, there is a big difference between heavy mashed potatos and powder.

You should also describe how you ski. In particular, on the groomed, can you carve well, or do you still have a preponderance of old, skidded turn technique?

Tom / PM
post #4 of 25

So, the problems you experienced had to do with coming to a halt when you went out into the untracked?

If so, that sounds like perhaps there just wasn't enough pitch to the slope. Powder can easily do that if the hill isn't steep enough as there can be considerably more resistance and drag when you ski powder. Were other people skiing the same section without a problem?

It's easier to say than do, but speed is your friend in both powder and crud skiing. Crud skiing in particular involves a lot of forward and backward balance issues that you don't necessarily run into when skiing groomed runs. Speed helps power you through cut-up snow rather than being thrown around by it. Taking a bit straighter line down the hill might help.

Part of it is also just a matter of miles under your feet. You mentioned that you haven't skied a lot. The reflexes and balance needed to ski junky snow comfortably tend to come naturally as the miles add up.

Lastly, wider skis definitely help in powder and crud. What kind of skis were you on?

post #5 of 25
one more thing about powder/crud, no sudden movements think of making all your movements in Slow motion.
post #6 of 25
Another aspect of crud skiing is to not be afraid of it. Don't chance what works for you! Don't try to avoid the crud, or change your line, but ski through it. Before you know it, you'll enjoy blasting through the crud mounds.

I try to make a conscious effort to stay well balanced on both feet, keep pressure on my tips and ski as if it were a groomed trail. After a bit of practice and mental readjustment, what used to seem like poor conditions, no longer is.
post #7 of 25
Two skis = 1 platform is great advice.

You really have to keep your feet together, else they'll go in different directions.

From there, you have to have a plan.
post #8 of 25

There is a video floating around (cannot remeber the name but Vail library has a copy)made by Franz Fuchsberger and Eric Archer (world powder 8 chamnpions).

It is corny (the accent is real) but Franz gives some excellent powder tips and demos. The man can really ski powder & crud. He mentored me back in the eighties in Oz and really got my powder\crud technique together.

Get fit, stay centered and keep moving.

and remember

post #9 of 25
Maybe I'm a simpleton but I ski pow/crud the same way that I ski hardpack. Neutral fore-aft stance and weight as equal over both feet as I can ("2 footed"). I don't like a narrow stance cuz that creates snow build up. With legs apart, the pow can sift thru and I don't lose speed.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 16, 2001 03:41 PM: Message edited 1 time, by mary ]</font>
post #10 of 25
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SCSA:
Two skis = 1 platform is great advice.

You really have to keep your feet together, else they'll go in different directions.

"2 skis = 1 platform" and "keeping your feet together" aren't necessarily the same thing.
(Keeping the feet together does not 'guarantee' one platform)
post #11 of 25
The faster you go the easier it is to ski the powder, crud, mashed potatos or whatever. Once you learn to translate that speed into the turn and use the energy from the current turn to make the next turn, you will experience what I refer to as effortless bliss on skis.
post #12 of 25
Fat skis. Do not underestimate the benefits of fat skis.
post #13 of 25

Whilst speed and fats are indeed beneficial they can also mask bad technique.

Practice your dynamic short swing turns on groomed runs of varying transitions and aim for a strong solid rhythm all the way down. (fitness, control and technique)

Practice in the un-groomed beside the runs. (if you can find some)

You may need some up down movement (bounce) to start with as you get your rhythm going and your legs and lower body become “more intelligent”. Uncertain terrain (crud & powder) will show up any bad technique especially upper body “cheats” and ski pole over reliance.

“we have crud in Australia …… lots”
post #14 of 25
Hmmm. My simple advice for crud is this: You are not skiing ON the crud/powder, but THROUGH it. Your skis will react and turn against the harder snow underneath just as they would groomed snow. In "bottomless" snow, your skis will compact the snow underneath them until it is firm enough to resist "your" forces. Then the previous sentence still applies. If you try to fight it by leaning back, locking your feet together, or over-turning your upper torso... you will most likely pull the ol' lawn-chair maneuver and have hell getting up. (Lawn Chair - the act of getting turned around backwards in the deep snow and flopping straight back with your feet in the air. Like when yor lawn chair breaks!)

Crud and powder are no great mystery. Ski it like you would anything else and you'll be fine. If you have trouble getting going, try a tiny little bounce to begin each turn. Not the most technically sound move in the world, but it lets your skis have a moment of lightness as they blaze through the snow. It is then you can turn them easiest. As your momentum gets going you can relax and ski!!!!

2 cents

Have FUN!!!!!!!!
post #15 of 25
And this is why you need fats. Why beat youself up? The deep will not feel so different than the groomed. Also, you can try to steer the skis all the way through the turn, especially at the end of the turn. This allows you to make shorter turns without having to pivot the skis in the transition, which means less up/down motion, which means less energy expended, which means more powder runs on your pitiful 12 days a year.
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thank you. What a great response and I can relate to all off it.

For those who want know I am on 193 Volant Super Carves. I find them a nice ski, although possibly a little long. I tend to get the backs caught up occasionally - especially in moguls. I am 6ft 3in and 240 pounds (I think thats what 96Kg is). Until last year I was spending too much time with my weight back as evidenced by sore quads, making me have to pull up after only a short run. I spent a lot of time on my heels and skidding rather than turning. This year with a few lessons I am more evenly distributed and can really feel the edge in many of my turns (It's a great feeling) and can control my speed down a slope much better than before with short turns. Feet are almost always apart.

The crud that comes to mind is particularly where there is a crust on top and soft underneath (Is that "mashed potato"?). Definately I have come to a halt where there has not been enough slope and leaning back and facing the wrong way has landed me on my back the wrong way up (or is it down) the slope.

As the "man from oz" says,I think alot of mine has to do with fitness (working on that as I only seem to be keep the excercise up when there is a ski trip in the offing),control (which for me translates to confidence)and technique (which I have to work on). But more than 12 days a year is hard to get when you live in the tropics.

Thanks Again
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
I can hear you crying in your pretzels over my 12 days. In fact I got 14 this year - every day is a bonus. I used to waterski and got less that 12 days a year - and that is living in a climate where you can do it every day if you wanted to!

Maybe I will rent or demo some different skis this year and see how I go. Anything that means I am not as stuffed at the end of the day has got to be good for the next day.
post #18 of 25

Take as many days as you can get, right? I think all the advice that's been posted has been good. I think following through on your plan to be fit for skiing will be the most help. (as one who has skied in both high fitness and high fatness I can attest to this) I find that proper strength and endurance are particularly necessary when leaving the groomed for a couple of reasons: 1) it's a lot harder to "rest" while still moving - on the groomed you can get away with standing up a bit - riding 'em straight for a few seconds - usually when you've ventured off piste you are in conditions that call for continuous turning and rhythm (have a plan as someone else said) 2) you've introduced the vertical plane to skiing - on the groomers you are pretty much in balance and on top of the snow all the time - when you're not on groomed snow your skis will be riding up and down and bumping you around - particularly if there is a crust or you're skiing cut up powder - and a lot of effort goes into countering those challenges to the balance. 3) Those same terrain inconsistencies will affect your speed - rarely on the groomed do I feel like something is grabbing at my skis yet that's a pretty common sensation as you ski through ungroomed snow and I have to make a conscious effort to stay balanced forward/backward. It's really tiring if you're not doing it all the time. It's not just you. After awhile you'll get better at judging what each type of snow is going to do to you and you can anticipate but as someone else said - many many miles before that happens. Good luck.
post #19 of 25
N Spag has the best advice, IMHO. Crud and chop require a mental image of skiing through the snow and not on the snow. Weight should be centered, balance even. Stance narrowness depends upon the condition of the chop/crud. If it's wetter and/or heavier, I think wider is better, and narrower (but not locked) is better if the snow is drier and/or lighter.

If you have a problem with control in chop or crud, my guess (without seeing you ski) is that your weight is too far rearward and you are not in balance.
post #20 of 25
As a fitness instructor, I would have to agree that being in shape is important, but it can be misused. I have this bad habit of trying to fight my way through powder like some sort of warrior princess, when what I really need to do is ski it lighter touch.
Core stability work is imperative. Without it, powder can wreck havoc on your fore/aft alignment.

Todd, Le Petit Prince of ski instruction, has this wonderful image of pretending to be the wing of an airplane when skiing powder.

But some of us never listen.....

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ October 19, 2001 02:41 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Lisamarie ]</font>
post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. I really have some things to think about and work on.

Your right gonzostrike I ski with my weight to far rearward. I have been more consciouse of that this year and the need for better balance.

I see the snow has started to fall and a couple of places are "opening" so I am going to turn the airconditioning down as far as it will go (15C it's a start) and do a bit of visualization.

They say it's all in the mind, so in my mind I'll go to ......
post #22 of 25
Fundamentals. Flatten out at the end

In all skiing the connection between turns is critical, in powder it becomes the real test. Most people that strugle are holding on to the old edge way to loong. With the added friction of snow, speed slows down much faster at the end of the turn. You then get stuck and the symptom is feeling the need to throw yourself or jump into the next trurn.

Try if you can, to think about the end of the turn hapening while your skis are flat to the hill ,or not edged. (perpendicular to hill while traversing) this will help you link the turns. Only then can you create rythem which is what makes skiing powder feel like flying.

you can make the turn it is geting the next one started that gives people the sh$#%'s.
post #23 of 25
Hey...here's another couple thoughts for you. Ski a two ski platform through the turn as your weight (G's) max out. When your turn is complete and you're good to go into the next turn, with your eyes and shoulders facing down the falline, release your turn slowly by relaxing both legs together. Be patient and let your skis rise to the surface as they pass under you and up onto the new turning edges. Be patient. It's a slow rhythm. Keep both skis close together and lead the edge change with new inside foot light until the G's begin to build in the next turn then use the two ski platform to support your full weight and maintain centered stance with your hips low and shoulders slightly forward as the skis sink into the snow and complete the arc. Smile and think of Bob Marley! Also, you might try to make a slightly longer turn.

E :
post #24 of 25

Welcome to Epicski.
post #25 of 25
Welcome aboard.
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